The Avocado Show is coming to Brussels!

We knew it wouldn’t last too long. The popular avocado restaurant that is famous for their instagrammable avo-dishes, is finally expanding abroad. The Avocado Show’s is coming to Brussels!

It’s big news because avocado fans have been waiting for the restaurant to open somewhere else after their two locations in Amsterdam. The Avocado Show’s first Belgium franchise is set to open at the end of November on the Anspachlaan in Brussels. 

Co-Founder Ron Simpson says; “It’s a personal business goal that I am very proud of”.

The Avocado Show in Brussels will serve breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Are you ready to get in line?

Love,

Elke

Ghent Light Festival

Although I normally write about traveling with kids, this time I’m posting in the category: trip without kids. Time to escape the life of a working mom so me and my hubby went off exploring Ghent. Luckily for me: The Ghent Light Festival just arrived!

The Ghent Light Festival
For 5 days, people can discover 37 light projects through the city centre. It’s a 6.6 km long route and you’ll be  amazed by ‘the museum of the moon’, where visual artist Luke Jerram brings us closer to the moon than ever before. Also the forgotten dragon from multi media specialist Create is quite impressive. 


The incredible blue moon at the Ghent Light Festival

Besides the great Light festival Gent has so much more to offer. In 2011 Ghent was named Europe’s best kept secret and I totally understand why. This city has lots of historical buildings, fun bars & little shops where you can buy typical stuff like: Ghents noses (sweets) en their famous mustard (you can find them at the “groentenmarkt” square). 

Street Art
Did you know that Ghent also has amazing street art and graffiti? Everywhere in Ghent you’ll find walls covered in colors and art. Although graffiti is supposedly banned here, there are still a few places where authorities do allow it. The Werregarenstraat is a fine example of this. Fun fact: There is a graffiti artist who created ‘Kortpaard’. It’s basically a wide spread yellow horse which can be found throughout the whole city. It was first meant to be a symbol towards rules but now it’s known for the feeling of solidarity between people who are a bit disobedient (aren’t we all sometimes?).

Ghent

Hotspots
» Holy food market; inspired by the food halls in Barcelona, Rotterdam and Copenhagen.

» Aroy Aroy (pop-up); A fixt menu inspired by the Thai cuisine
» The Cobler (bar in Hotel 1898 The Post) – In this new hotel you can find lots of special cocktails). Don’t forget to visit the toilet; it’s perfectly decorated.
» De meacht van Ghent – definitely should try the new Gin tonic!
» The Belfort tower; the middle of the famous Ghent tower row and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999
» Gravensteen; a castle that for centuries has determined the view of the city center of Ghent

If you have kids, bring home a cupcake from Julie’s house. They will love it (mine did)!

For more info about the Ghent Light Festival visit Lichtfestival.stad.gent

Love,

Cheryl

*Cheryl is a mother of 2, with a love for travel. Having 2 kids didn’t stop her from traveling the world and she has become somewhat of an expert when it comes to traveling with children. She will write for Wander-Lust once a month where she will provide you with the best traveling tips for and with children! Find out more on her blog: travellingwithkids.nl

The Antwerp City Guide by Wander-Lust

If you live in the Netherlands, Antwerp is the perfect place to escape to for a city break, especially during the wintertime! We’ve been there many times and checked out some of the best spots for you to enjoy food, drinks and more. Here’s our Antwerp City Guide!

How to get there
Well, you have 2 options and they are both as easy. You can take the train or you can go by car. Both options take around the same time (2 hours) but we prefer the train because you can chill, look out of the window and you will arrive at one of the most beautiful and impressive trains stations in Europe. A  return train ticket from Amsterdam to Antwerp will cost around 30 -40 euro. If you go by car, you might arrive earlier but if you are unlucky, you will get caught in slow traffic and your trip might take up to 3 hours plus you will have to pay for parking.

“This Antwerp City Guide is for wanderers who love food, shops and exploring”

Antwerp City Guide

Where To Eat?
The most important question of course! Well, in Antwerp you won’t be short of food choices. Especially lunch! There are so many hotspots around that we can’t mention them all, but these are our favorites!
» Tinsel, some say that you can get the best breakfast in town here. Tinsel is located near the water where you will find tons of other restaurants. www.tinsel.be
» Native Bio Bistro, This hidden pearl is by far our favorite lunch spot in Antwerp. This bistro serves fresh, original, and good quality food. It’s organic, locally produced with sustainable ingredients, this is Native! Vegan and organic food lovers will love this place! During the summer they open a very nice terrace. www.native.bio
» Bubble Waffle, located in the Mercado foodcourt, this tasty waffle stand awesome! Go here if you feel like something sweet. www.bubblewaffle.be
» Divers, a smoothie-bowl bar for your healthy cravings. Great for some Instagram worthy pics, if that’s what your after. They are located in the Volkstraat 9.
»De Broers van Julienne, when we need to grab a quick and healthy bite, we go here. In a side street of the Kammenstraat – with lots of boutiques – you will find this small cute little restaurant. You can take away the best quiches, soups,  salads and other warm healthy dishes. Besides that, they sell oil, wine, coffee, juices and other delicatessen. They  also offer catering and cook workshops.
» Raw Salad Company, unfortunately they’ve closed their doors in Antwerp but they promised to be back soon with a new location. The name gives it away. Raw salads galore. The salads are extremely tasty and fill you up enough to get on with your day. They also sell juices, wraps, cakes and other healthy snacks. We will keep you updated if they open a shop.
» Umami
, fine dining Japanese style. They restyled not long ago and you can eat amazing Dim Sum here. www.umami-antwerp.be

» Il Famosi, this is by far the best Italian restaurant in Antwerp. Go here for a romantic dinner and if you want more than just pizza.

food-antwerp
From left till right: Raw, Umamian and Il Famosi

Antwerp City Guide where-to-eat-in-antwerp
Bubble Waffle from Mecado (source) and Divers (photo’s by David Plas)

Where To Drink Coffee?
» Mirlo’s, the coffee is great and the location is cute. They also serve breakfast and lunch and it’s all homemade. www.mirlos.be
» Buchbar, surrounded by literature and stories, this coffee bar is different than others. Owned by actress Kim Hertogs, you can feel the passion for books, women empowerment and people. Find more info about this special spot on their website.
» Butchers Coffee, located in a former butcher, this trendy coffee bar takes the coffee business serious and are planning to create their own coffee blend. If the sun is out, you can sit outside on the benches. You can find it on the Kasteelstraat 57.
» Caffenation, self blended coffee and probably the oldest one in Belgium as they started more than 13 years ago. Besides the coffee it’s also a shop and a great place to hang out. www.caffenation.be
» Texas Coffee, for pink latte’s and coffee served in an ice-cream cone! 

Antwerp City Guide -mirlos
Coffee and brunch at Mirlo’s

texas-coffee-antwerp
Pink latte at Texas Coffee

Antwerp City Guide. The Buchbar
The Buchbar

Where to Shop & Stroll?
You have many options in Antwerp when it comes to shopping. No matter what type of person you are, there will be a shopping district that will suit your needs. We have selected 3 area’s that we love.
» Kammenstraat & Kloosterstraat, these 2 streets in South Antwerp offer vintage, exclusive boutiques, living and alternative shops. While most shops are closed on Sunday, the kloosterstraat is one of the only streets open from around 12pm.
» Het Eilandje, this is especially great during summer because you can find a lot of outside patio’s here. Worth mentioning is the MAS Museum where they have many exhibitions on display. The museum is set next to the little harbor and owns a large rooftop which has free entrance.
» De Volkstraat, go here for boutiques, concept stores, perfume and coffee.

» The Meir, this is Antwerp’s highstreet. Although it’s not our favorite place to shop, we need to mention it because here you will find all the shops you need. From Zara, Mango, Levi’s, it’s all here. The street is beautiful but always busy. Watch your purse and don’t stay too long!

MAS Antwerp
The MAS Museum at “Het Eilandje”. Source

Where To Sleep?
Somehow we always end up in the same hotels. Never change a winning team! These are our 3 favorite places to stay.

» Hotel Franq, is a new kid on the block and super cool! Just recently opened in October, the building used to be a bank and you can still find the big safe intact which is now being converted into a gym. When you enter the impressive foyer, you almost forget you set foot in a hotel. The rooms are stylish and have a large bathroom with rain showers. When it’s nice weather, you can sit outside in the garden overlooking an old victorian house. www.hotelfranq.com

hotel-franq
Hotel Franq

» Hotel Les Nuits, we love boutique hotels and this hotel is one of the cutest ones out there! All 21 rooms are designed a bit different but have the same style and feature impressive en-suites. They have recently changed their reception area and removed their suites rooms which is a shame because I really loved those but this way the hotel is more compact and fits better together. Breakfast is great and the location is great! Book a room here!

Antwerp City Guide. Elke in Hotel Les Nuits
Breakfast in bed at Hotel Les Nuits

» Banks, another great hotel at a very central location. It’s modern and a great place to meet people downstairs. Oh, and they also have a rooftop terrace so this is a great option during the summer. Then again, you will be out exploring Antwerp..;-) Book your stay here.

So are you planning your next tip to Antwerp yet? 😉 

Love,

Wander-Lust

More City Guides? ↓

12 x Tips for a Midweekend Citytrip to Maastricht

We Dutchies are globe-trotters with a capital ‘G’ and an exclamation mark. Our travel-around-the-world-craving seems to become bigger and bigger, year after year. But besides all the international magic, did you know our own Dutchieland has just as much to offer as the most distant destinations? A nice side note: you save yourself a pricey ticket and killer jetlag (here’s how to avoid one). Let’s go back to our roots! Last midweek I traveled to Maastricht and it’s surroundings. Wander-Lust received the invite by the VVV Zuid-Limburg and Marketing Maastricht to experience how interesting and beautiful it is to go on a discovery trip in your own country. I can tell you, it was livin’ the good life.

Midweekend Citytrip to Maastricht in a nutshell
Would you like to experience life like the Maastricht citizens do? Drop by on a Sunday afternoon till Thursday and you’ll get that slow living, enjoyable feeling! No hustle and bustle, just everything at ease. The authentic atmosphere of Maastricht made me feel like I was on a laid back mini vacation abroad – and that wasn’t just because of the lovely spring sunshine, cold beer with Italian nibbles and a hospitable community. There is so much to explore, let’s zoom in on a few highlights and to do’s I’ve tried & tested.

Where to Stay
In my opinion the best district to stay is without doubt the hip and lively district ‘Wyck’. Extra plus: it’s near the train station, which is super convenient. Let me give you three really cool hotel tips for your citytrip in Maastricht:
» The Dutch: My first choice in Maastricht. The colorful, trendy design with international allure would certainly not be missed in Amsterdam, London or Barcelona. I’m in love with their breakfast bag, which they hang on your door in the early morning, so cute. Food allergy, vegan or other wishes? No problem for the genuinely friendly staff! www.hotelthedutch.com

Midweekend Citytrip to Maastricht The Dutch

Midweekend Citytrip to Maastricht The Dutch
The Dutch, one of my stays during my midweekend citytrip in Maastricht

» Kaboom Hotel, are you smart, worldly-wise and a tad of a rebel? Did you hear yourself saying three times ‘yes’ than you definitely have to stay here. Rewarded as the best hotel concept in 2015 according to Entree Magazine, good job! Oh and they’re nice for your wallet: budget-friendly without feeling cheap. Book your stay here.
» Townhouse Hotel. They want to give you the feelin’ like home-away-from-home experience: rent a goldfish for one night – how funny is that! – and enjoy their homemade soup or a little alcoholic drink in one of the comfortable, retro sofas. If you prefer a pure and ‘down to earth’ hotel, this is your match! Book here!

Townhouse Hotel
The Townhouse Hotel

Where to Eat
Oh Yes, we have arrived (figuratively  speaking) at my favorite chapter: Food! During my citytrip in Maastricht I spotted many pretty new hotspots.
» Jack White’s, I’ve started my food fest at Jack White’s creative fish & chips, a fairly new resto. Normally fish & chips is made of a white fish, mostly codfish. The heroes of Jack White’s have given it an original twist. They can do the same delicious, fried trick with fresh salmon, mackerel and even sea bass. Give it a try with a Goose Islands beer during your citytrip! Facebook
» Mr. Smith, Say hi to this new kid in town. A stylish cocktailbar of two hipsters. This cocktailicious hotspot is one you need to know, otherwise you will spontaneously go along. Press the bell and a small-scale, hidden cocktail heaven will open in front of you. Go for their fresh GT’s or ask the staff for a tasty advice. In advance #sorrynotsorry for your hangover. mrsmithmaastricht
» De Poshoorn, on Sunday evening I went to the well-known De Poshoorn. In the past a brown, tiny unobtrusive pub, nowadays a vibrant beer café with a fresh, contemporary atmosphere. Sixteen beers on tap and hundred on bottle. Go local and try the ‘Mestreechs Zoervleis’, a local food specialty. In spite of the fact the Maastrichtians see this dish as something unique, for this girl from above the rivers it’s a look-alike of the meaty hachee, so delicious! www.poshoorn.nl
» De Tapijn, is a very cool 4-year catering project in a former barrack. Relaxed location near the park, welcoming staff, a huge terrace and yummy food. I love the fact they know the origin of the fresh, local ingredients. This alone makes the food even better. Lunch, dinner or a Friday drink with friends, this hotspot in Maastricht has it all! www.tapijn.nl

Midweekend Citytrip to Maastricht
Jack White’s, one of the hotspots I’ve tried during my citytrip in Maastricht

Midweekend Citytrip to Maastricht
Never mind the beer! 😉

What To Do
Boy o boy where to start, there’s so much to do during a (mid)weekend Maastricht and other parts of South Limburg! Here are my favorite highlights:
Let’s start with the city walk through the urban part of Maastricht. Honestly, the excitement of the guide is essential for making or failing it, but luckily I had an amazing time with Lianne Schuuring, credits for her. She showed all the interesting ins and outs of Maastricht from the history till today. Bucketlist proof!

Midweekend Citytrip to Maastricht
Sightseeing Maastricht, a must do during your citytrip!

Midweekend citytrip to Maastricht

If you’d rather ride a bike than walk, rent a mountainbike and work on your condition in this hilly area. There’re so many bike routes. I cycled to the newly opened ENCI-quarry, a wonderful spot for a swim in summertime. Just a guess, I think you’ve never thought about a kickbike tour in the caves of Zonnebergust. In the Maastricht underground nothing is too crazy. Although I do not have much with visiting caves, the whole new experience ánd power chick Niké Hermans made it really enjoyable. See the Southern part of South Limburg from a fascinating, different angle. Are you claustrophobic? Let shake hands…but I can tell you this wasn’t too claustrophobic for me, so don’t worry.

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Entering the cave

A herbal walk in Maastricht or other parts in South Limburg, have you ever done it? Come one, once has to be the very first time. Definitely book it via the enthusiastic master herborist Anne van der Linden. She’s is a running encyclopedia, she really knows everything about herbs and their special function: tea of nettle for blood purification, the juice from the dandelion for drying out annoying pimples and so on, and so on.
If you’re very interested in the history of historical buildings go to Abdij Rolduc in Kerkrade and book a tour. To be honest, it wasn’t my favorite, but I can imagine you don’t want to miss it during your midweekend in Maastricht and surroundings. Afterwards you can have some food in the Brasserie or have a quick look in the microbrewery, a hidden gem!

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Maastricht

An information overload summarized in a city guide for you, you’re welcome 😉
I’ll definitely go back to the south if I need a mini-break!

Love,

Sharmaine

Read more of Sharmaine’s foodie tips here!

The best of Belgium » Ghent and Bruges

I’m one of those lucky girls who can say that she has a very romantic boyfriend. Yes, I’ve got the type of boyfriend that get’s me flowers now and then. Another great thing about my man is (and after this I will stop boring you) that he loves to travel! He’s traveled around south east Asia for 6 months and lived in Australia for a year. This also means that when he surprises me with one of his romantic gestures, it mostly involves traveling, lucky me! So 2 weeks ago when we celebrated our 2 years together, he kinda kidnapped me and drove me over the Dutch border towards Belgium. I had no idea where he was taking me. Could it be Antwerp where I’ve been so often? Nope, we ended up in a small town called: Eeklo. A village situated in between 2 great cities: Ghent and Bruges.

Where I stayed
It was dark when we arrived so I couldn’t really see where I ended up at but I loved it already. This village was nothing special other than it is perfect for what we were planning: Visit Ghent on the one day and visit Bruges on the next day. From Eeklo both cities were about a 25 min drive. We stayed in a place called Salus, a wellness bed & breakfast owned by a family. We enjoyed a large bedroom with a private bathroom that included a rain shower, sauna, steam room and an outside jacuzzi! The room price includes a breakfast but if you want to use the sauna and steam room, you need to pay 35 euro’s extra. I personally don’t really like sauna’s so I didn’t bother with this option. I love staying in B&B’s because it feels more personal instead of a large hotel. The next morning we jumped in our car and drove to our first destination of the weekend.

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Waking up with this breakfast at Salus

Jacuzzi in Eeklo
Private Jacuzzi time in B&B Salus in Eeklo

Ghent
I heard good stories about this city and Sarah has been there a few times so I was exited to see what the buzz is all about. Ghent is full of beautiful of old buildings that make it a picture perfect place. Not strange because during the Middle Ages it was a prominent city-state. Now it’s a vibrant university town with lot’s of places to indulge your taste buds. It’s a small town which makes it cozy but it certainly isn’t boring! Every year you can enjoy the “Gentse feesten” which takes place in July and there are various activities throughout the city like music, dance, food and more. I only had one day but I enjoyed shopping, coffee bars, lunch spots and walking around. 

Ghent and Bruges. Streets of Ghent

Ghent, Belgium

Elke in Ghent.
Walking the streets of Ghent

My favorite hotspots in Ghent are:
» Barista Coffee & Cake, The’ve been around for at least 6 years and they still attract the hip crowd of Ghent. www.mybarista.be
» Pomme et Terre, opened in March, this is a healthy lunch option right in the centre of Ghent. Sweet potato with healthy toppings. Try the vegetarian ChileconCarne! They even sell brownies made with sweet potatoes, coconut and raw cacao powder. Facebook
» Walpoortstraat for cute stores including a few concept stores. You will also find the cool OR coffee roasters in this street. www.orcoffee.be
» Proof, a new alcohol tasting room and they’ve just opened! Taste all kind of beers, wines and other alcoholic beverages. Proof is a combination between a store and a bar and it’s situated alongside the water on Jan Breydelstraat. 
» Koperhuis Lifestyle Boutique for cool furniture, home accessories, jewelry and gift ideas. www.koperhuis.be

Hotspots in Ghent
Drinks at Proof and healthy lunch at Pomme et Terre

Bruges
The next day we checked out and drove up to Bruges. This town has been on my wishlist for a while after seeing the movie “In Bruges” so I was really exited. Let me tell you, Bruges didn’t disappoint! As soon as you enter this town it feels like you have entered the medieval times. The shops in Bruges are (in my opinion) a lot better than in Ghent. 

Wander-Lust in Bruges
Am I in the medieval times?

Ghent and Bruges. Elke in Bruges
How cute is this place! Bruges is full of it!

Ghent and Bruges
Boat tours are very popular in Bruges

My favorite hotspots in Bruges:
» Jüttu is by far the best concept store in town. Cool brands in fashion and furniture or just things to love. Most brands are sustainable or fairtrade. www.juttu.be
» Flying Tiger is a well know cook store that is even interesting for people who never cook! www.flying-tiger.nl
» 2B /The Beerwall is a famous wall made out of beer bottles and leads to a beer bar with a nice terras looking over the water. Facebook
» Fishmarket in the morning for all the fresh fish. Later they sell art and local brands in stalls that date back from 1821.
» Simon Stevin Square
is great for drinks in the sunshine. Try to avoid the tourist trap at the main square (where you shoot the perfect picture like below)

» El Greco for the best Greek food at night. Make a reservation to avoid a full house. www.el-greco.be

Wander-Lust in Bruges
Picture perfect Bruges


Hotspots in Bruges
Concept satore Jüttu, Food at El Greco and the famous beerwall

Ghent and Bruges are both amazing vities in their own right and you should definitely visit them both if you get the chance!

Love,

Elke

 

24 hours in Brussels

When I started writing this blogpost, something awful happened in Brussels. Several terrorist attacks changed the face of this European capital and time stood still. I was in Brussels a few days before it happened so it felt very close. The people of Brussels that so warmly invited me to enjoy their city and taste their food, sleep in their amazing hotel and opened up their wonderful shops. That’s why I feel it’s even more important to shine a positive light on this city and share my experience. Brussels is only a few hours away from my hometown but crazy as it seems, I had yet to discover it. I had the opportunity to explore it when hotel The Dominican invited me for a visit. Traveling to Brussels is extremely easy by train. The Thalys takes you there within a few hours. I love traveling by train because it’s fast, quiet and I can do some work without getting distracted.

“The people of Brussels that so warmly invited me”

The Dominican 
During my stay in Brussels, I slept in funky design hotel The Dominican. This hotel has a history and dates back to the 15th century. It used to be a Dominican monastery (hence the name) and was later the home to Jacques-Louis David, a artist/painter. It was later taken apart and rebuild to this hotel but a lot of main features have remained intact such as the impressive entrance gate. Their courtyard features a fig tree that has been moved there from a square in Brussels where the monks use to sit to chat and read their books. Pretty cool!

Entree The Dominican Brussels
Entering The Dominican

The Box
Every room in the Dominican is unique and I got lucky because they gave me an upgrade! It had something to do with the mystery box that I found on the bed..

The Dominican has a cool concept called: The Dominican and the City box. You can purchase this box with your room for €50,- extra which automatically gives you an upgrade, champagne and a late check out. (so the cost are already covered with those extra’s) Inside the box you will find several objects and notes that give you discounts, goodies, tips and tickle your curiosity. It wouldn’t be fun to tell you what’s in it so I would advice you to buy it and find our for yourself.. It’s a perfect gift for your partner or friend! You can purchase the box online when you book your stay or you can buy it at the reception upon arrival. The inside of the box changes now and then especially when it’s valentines day or holiday season.

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The mystery box full of fun things!

The Dominican Brussels
My spacious “loft” room. Suitcase by Eastpak

Don’t stay in your room for too long because on Friday night there is a DJ spinning deephouse music at the “Brut” night. I was told that all sorts of people come here to drink cocktails; bloggers, the  fashion industry, business people.. Don’t miss breakfast cause it’s delicious and both buffet and a la carte! (especially the pancakes are good). The Dominican is located in central Brussels so it’s easy to explore the city from here. Tip! Bring some earplugs as the walls are a little thin..the couple next to my room were having a good time..all night! (earplugs would have saved me)

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The dining room with the figtree in the patio behind the glass

The Dominican suite in Brussels
The main suite in the Dominican

Exploring Brussels
I only had one day so that would mean a lot of walking but you’ll be surprised on how close everything is to each other. The one thing you will notice, is that the streets in Brussels are covered with streetart from all different kinds of artist. Cartoonist are very popular here so you will find this style across some buildings throughout the city center. Belgium is famous for their chocolates and let me tell you, there are chocolade shops around every corner! You smell waffels and other sweets all day so it’s up to you to keep on walking or to indulge yourself! One of the most famous attractions of Brussels is of course “Manneke Pis“, a small bronze sculpture of a naked little boy urinating into a fountain’s basin. Funny enough he was dressed when I saw him. (it was a little bit cold outside after all!)

Street Art in Brussels

street art in Brussels
Cartoon Street at next to a 2nd hand Vinyl store

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Famous and dressed up! Manneke Pis.

Shops
Apart from the many chocolade stores, you will find some cool stores where you can go all out. Some of my favorite picks are:

» Taschen for those cool books on the coffee table’, Lebeaustraat 18
» Gallerie St Hubert for window shopping in the 19th century shopping mall, Galerie du Roi 5
» Hunting & Collecting, hunting for multi brands Rue des Chartreux, 17
» Les Enfants d’edouard, find the most stylish vintage clothing here

For an overview of all the shops in Brussels, check this website
Want to experience The Dominican? Check their
website or book here!

Fear is something that will drive us apart, let’s keep on loving, exploring and wandering. Also in Brussels. 

Love,

Elke